She only took up serious exercise at 28, but mountaineer Viridiana Alvarez Chavez set a Guinness World Record less than ten years later, when in late 2019, she completed the trifecta of climbs — summiting Mount Everest, K2 and Kanchenjunga – in record time.
Chavez new record for the fastest ascent to the top of the three highest mountains with supplementary oxygen (female) now stands at one year and 364 days.
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A las faldas del K2 se encuentra el Memorial a 5,200 metros, un lugar rocoso y arenoso cerca del campamento base del K2 que conmemora a los escaladores que han muerto en las peligrosas laderas de K2 y el Karakoram. El aire era ruidoso con el sonido de cuervos y las placas de metal chocando con la roca por el viento. Por donde volteras habian placas marcadas con los nombres de algunos de los escaladores que habian entregado su vida a la montaña y permanecen como guardianes ahí. . 🎥 @gopromx @gopro K2 Pakistan 🇵🇰 July 2018 . #mountains #mountain #k2 #pakistan #karakoram #climbing #danger #respect #memorial #montaña
The record also sees the 36-year-old becoming the first Latin American to conquer the top of K2, which is the second highest mountain in the world, at 8,611 metres. She also becomes the first woman from the American continent to climb the four highest mountains in the world, knocking down 4 of 7 of the seven peaks of each continent.
Chavez broke the record which had previously been held by Go Mi-Sun, a climber from South Korea who tragically died at the age of 41 in 2009 while ascending Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world, located in Pakistan.
Chávez told CNN she has no issue with staying motivated and that mountaineering is about controlling what goes on in the mind. “The mind is everything” she said. “Mountains are the place I can challenge myself and know myself better.”
The self described alpinist, lecturer, entrepreneur and coach added that fear is a common battle she learns to manage.
“It’s not about not having fear,” she explained. “It’s about having fear and confronting the fear.”
In 2017, she told the Monterrey Institute of Technology that she sees mountaineering as, “A means for what I call self-conquest, where through physical, mental and spiritual tests, there is a search to find oneself and achieve fulfilment in life.”
Before tackling mountaineering – an area of extreme sports overwhelmingly dominated by men – Chávez took up running and competed in marathons. She completed in an ironwoman challenge before deciding to focus on mountaineering.
Soon, she was reaching the top of Mexico’s highest mountain, Pico de Orizaba, which is 5,636 metres. In 2017, she reached the peak of Mount Everest in 42 days.
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📷 K2 basecamp July 2018. This is what COVID has taught me: ✋🏻STOP, 👂listen, 👁 observe, ❓question yourself, 🎯define your goals, redefine if is necessary and be patience. Getting stronger 💪🏻 and waiting for the moment to come back to the mountains 🏔 ✨Have a great week ————————————————— Esto es lo que COVID me ha enseñado: ✋🏻DETENTE, 👂escucha, 👁 observa, ❓cuestiona, 🎯define tus metas, redefine si es necesario y ten paciencia. 💪🏻Entrenando y esperando el momento correcto para volver a la montaña 🏔 ✨ Que tengan una excelente semana! . #montaña #mountains #himalaya #k2 #pakistan #karakoram #mexico #climbing #trekking #montañas #mountain #training
“I feel enormous satisfaction to have carried the flag of Mexico and my state of Aguascalientes to the top of the world,” she told reporters back in 2017. “Part of the satisfaction was shared with the pleasant surprise of having the support of thousands of people who were on the lookout and who had me in their prayers.”
“I feel grateful, blessed and with a very deep social commitment. Having climbed to the highest point on the planet has given me a broader vision and has given me a platform to share the importance of values such as effort, determination and passion to all the young people of Mexico and the world. Inspiring them to fight for their dreams ”.
Chávez has also since started an organisation called Lideres De Altura which aims to empower young women through transformational leadership and sharing her mountaineering experiences through conferences, courses and workshops.